Rector’s Letter – from May 2019 magazine

Dear friends,

For me, one of the greatest privileges of ministry is all the opportunities I get to pray with people. Prayer is such an incredibly powerful thing. In the last few days, I’ve experienced it reach someone lost deep in the fog of dementia, bring peace to someone wrestling with anxiety, give hope and direction to someone caught in the vicious cycle of addiction. In the last few months, I’ve seen it lift families weighed down by loss and grief and bring new energy to a room full of awkward, self-conscious teenagers. And when I look back over the years, I am amazed at the way the prayers of my family and my friends for me have been answered, sometimes in ways I would never have imagined!

The more time I spend at prayer in our church building, on my own and with others, the more aware I have become of the cloud of witnesses who are praying with us. It is unusual for a Scottish Episcopal church to have its own burial ground, and with it comes costs and responsibilities, but it also provides us with a constant, concrete reminder of our past as a worshiping community. As Anglicans, we are also part of a wider family of prayer. This was brought home to me last week at the end of two days of activities and storytelling in the church involving every pupil in St Mary’s school and nursery. The Holy Week Trail helped each child to engage with the story of the first Easter at their own level using their senses and their imagination. I was delighted at how easy it had been to make the arrangements and how keen the staff of the school were to take part but what had given me most pleasure was to see families coming into church after school, some parents being literally dragged in by their children, to visit the displays and do the activities together. And then I received an email sent to me by Carol, the bishop’s secretary, inviting me to update the entry for St Mary’s in the Diocesan Prayer Diary. Unknown to me, the prayer request for last year was ‘for growth and that the flourishing relationship with St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School would lead to more families connecting with the church’. For a whole year, faithful people all around our diocese had been praying specifically for this to happen!

We launched our Try Praying initiative at the beginning of Lent. Most of the hundred little turquoise books have disappeared from the back of church. I would be delighted to hear stories about the effect praying for the seven days had on your lives and how you may have been led to pass on the booklet to someone else. There is not a time limit to using the book if you haven’t got round to it yet!

As we journey towards Pentecost and turn away from the resurrection to the coming of the Holy Spirit, my hope is that we as individuals and as a congregation will increasingly experience the power of prayer and are inspired to encourage others to experience it too.

With love,